Sunday June 17th, 2012

I had a very interesting chat with our building custodian the other day.

It turned out this guy has been working in the building since 1985, and has been at this job for 40 years now (he worked in another city before). With his salary, he was able to buy a small apartment in our building (he’s renting it now to someone, so the rent money pays up the loan), plus he was able to buy a small house with a garden in the center of Croix, plus he is now paying the school (private one, please!) of his son’s two children!!!!

Can you believe it? This guy that takes out the trash, cleans the building and takes care of the garden, was able to save enough money to do all these things and ensure for himself and his wife a nice and easy end of life (he will retire in two years) in a nice small house with a garden!

This is a live proof of the difference in mentality between the French and the Lebanese.

First of all, it is very rare to find a Lebanese that accepts to work as a janitor: they consider that the money is not enough for them to live a decent life. You have to know that the “decent life” meaning in Lebanon is very different than its meaning in France: Lebanese cannot skip going out at least once per week (well it’s normal with all the stress politicians give us we have to release the tension somehow). In addition, Lebanese cannot skip buying a car (public transportation is very mediocre in our country, we have to find a way to move from a place to another). Also, Lebanese cannot live in small one-room apartments (the market does not offer any anyway). So all these makes it that the pay a custodian gets is not enough for a Lebanese young guy.

Second, it is very rare to find a Lebanese that puts any money aside. They do make savings (after all we have one of the safest bank systems in the region), but not enough to buy 2-3 houses, or enough to be able to stop work at 60 and just sit at home and wait till they’re dead. Lebanese like to spend, like to own beautiful things, like to have the latest phones, the nicest cars, the trendiest clothes, they like to go out almost every day of the week. We’re sort of the pure example of a capitalistic society 😛 And thus, the minimal janitor’s salary does not allow such a life.

What do you think? Which basket do you put yourself in? Are you the saving-type that thinks about his retirement days, or are you the live-each-day-by-day type? Which one is better you think? Personally I am in between the two: I like to live on a daily basis, but it’s important to also put some money aside because we don’t know what’s awaiting us.

An homage to Mr Chevalier our custodian 🙂

See you tomorrow!


One Response to “Sunday June 17th, 2012”
  1. tania says:

    In between as well, although not easy to put aside:P

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: